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Hulu follows Netflix down original content path

/ Source: Reuters

Hulu, the popular TV show web site, is trying its hand at commissioning its own shows at a time when its programming partners are starting to trim back the availability of content.

The online video site said on Wednesday it will be airing a six-episode half-hour documentary series called 'A Day in the Life' produced by filmmaker Morgan Spurlock this summer.

Spurlock, best known for his food industry documentary 'Super Size Me' centers the series around a complete day in the lives of well known people including entrepreneur Richard Branson.

The announcement comes just months after leading online video service Netflix Inc commissioned a 26-part TV series called "House of Cards" staring Kevin Spacey.

TV companies and studios have started to worry they will harm their lucrative multibillion dollar programming relationship with cable and satellite companies if newer popular shows are available for free or cheaply on video sites like Hulu and Netflix.

Last month, News Corp's Fox Television said that from Aug. 15 only online viewers who have been verified as pay-TV subscribers will be able to view Fox shows like "Glee" and "Bones" for eight days after the shows first air on TV.

Hulu, and will be among the first to participate but the Fox initiative will likely mean some Hulu users, who are used to watching shows the day after they air on TV, will now have to wait longer to view the latest shows. Hulu insiders expect other programmers to experiment with different models of making content available on its free web site.

Hulu's relationship with programmers is unique as it is owned by its primary programmers including News Corp, Walt Disney Co, Comcast Corp's NBC Universal and Providence Equity Partners.

( is a joint ventue of NBC Universal.)

The relationships may become further complicated because Hulu is currently up for sale with companies including Yahoo Inc and Google Inc reported to be interested.

Hulu executive Andy Forssell told Reuters the company will consider making more original shows but sees the Spurlock partnership initially as an experiment.

"We're talking to a couple of other producers, and there are things in the pipeline, but our priority is thinking in terms of what our audience wants rather than thinking in terms of genres or filling viewer hours," he said.